What’s better: A Facebook group or Facebook page?

The social network has made the decision for you. If you currently use a group, take a look at how to create a page instead.

There’s an issue people constantly raise in my seminars and workshops in a conversation that usually goes something like this:

Them: “Should we have a Facebook group or a Facebook page?”

Me: “Well, Facebook wants you to use pages for organizational profiles, and groups for small group collaboration…”

Them: “You see, we’ve had a Facebook group for a few years now, and it does really well. Will Facebook convert it to a page for us?”

Me: “Funny thing, when they introduced pages, they told people they’d take requests to convert existing groups. But after keeping a lot of folks on a waiting list for months, they abruptly announced they wouldn’t switch any more groups.”

Them: “So what do we do?”

Me: “Well, either live with your group—and its shortcomings—or create a new page, and post messages to your group’s members asking them to like the page. Some will come over; a lot probably won’t. You can also maintain both simultaneously for a while, but that can be a lot more work, and you’re diluting participation.

Them: “Geez, those choices kind of suck.”

Me: “Yes they do.”

Well, for those who haven’t jumped to pages yet, Facebook is now arguably making the situation a little easier: You’re about to be pushed.

Facebook is “archiving” groups created under its old process, and converting them to the new group feature. It’ll port over your content—but all of your group’s members will be kicked out. Facebook says:

“Keep in mind that the new groups format was designed to help you share with the small groups of people in your life. If you’ve been using your old group to promote your business, we recommend you create a Page instead. Learn more about the differences between groups and Pages.”

(By the way, there is no FAQ to explain Facebook’s rationale for capitalizing “Pages” but not “groups.”)

My advice is to start a page as your organization’s Facebook presence. If you’ve been relying on a group until now, this is the time to start gently prodding your members to move over to the new page:

  • Message your group’s members (Yes, Facebook uses “message” as a verb.) Let them know you’ll be wrapping things up in the group, and direct them to the address of the page.
  • Post similar messages to your group’s wall, in any active discussions, and in the description field of your group’s “Info” tab.
  • Send a follow-up message every week or so.
  • As soon as you have enough likes on your new page, be sure to claim a username for it.

And of course, promote your new page on your organization’s blog. (Social Signal’s is right here. And my cartoon’s here. See how easy that was?)

Rob Cottingham is the principal of Social Signal. He blogs at RobCottingham.ca, draws the Noise to Signal web comic, and contributes to the Social Signal blog, where this article originally ran.

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